The Guardians will choose righty Hunter Gaddis to make his major league debut tomorrow, manager Terry Francona told reporters (including Ryan Lewis of the Akron Beacon-Journal). Kirk McCarthy has been optioned to Triple-A Columbus to clear an active roster spot, while the team will announce a corresponding 40-man roster move tomorrow.
Gaddis, 24, was Cleveland’s fifth-round pick out of Georgia State in 2019. The 6’6″ righty has posted incredible strikeout numbers virtually from the day he entered the professional ranks. He’s fanned 32.6% of opposing hitters throughout his minor league career, including a nearly identical clip between Double-A Akron and Columbus this season. The bulk of his work has come in Akron, where he’s pitched to a 4.24 ERA through 76 1/3 innings with a 32.7% strikeout rate and a decent 8.3% walk percentage. He was promoted to Triple-A a couple of weeks ago and made just two starts there before earning his first big league appearance.
Baseball America recently ranked Gaddis the #19 prospect in a strong Guardians farm system. The outlet cited his four-pitch mix, including a low-mid 90s fastball and a pair of quality secondary offerings in his slider and changeup. He’s generally shown solid control throughout his time in the minors as well, although his incredibly low ground-ball rates have led to some home run concerns.
Gaddis would have been eligible for the Rule 5 draft this offseason if not added to the 40-man roster. Cleveland will give him a roster spot a few months early and plug him right into the fire, starting a game against the Astros while the Guards are just a game back of the Twins in the AL Central. With Aaron Civale beginning a rehab assignment in Columbus tomorrow, it’s possible Gaddis’ initial stint consists of just a spot start. That he’s now on the 40-man firmly cements him as viable rotation depth for the big league club down the stretch though.